The Law Minister told that state government have been suspecting the involvement of SDPI, PFI and other “similar” organisations over unlawful activities since the attack on Tanveer Sait in Mysuru.

Ban on SDPI PFI Karnataka says will go to Centre only after substantial evidence is collectedPFI Annual Parade: Image for Representation
news Law and Order Friday, February 07, 2020 - 18:09

Karnataka Law Minister KC Madhuswamy has stated that the state government will approach the Centre to ban Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Popular Front of India (PFI) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) only after a report with enough evidence is prepared by the state police.

SDPI is the political offshoot of the controversial Popular Front of India PFI. SDPI started its political journey in Kerala with a Muslim and Dalit voter base and then spread to coastal Karnataka. And over the years, it has been slowly expanding its reach.

But over the years, the PFI has had its brush with the law with the most serious incident being that of an NIA court sentencing 21 PFI members in an arms training case in Kerala. In Karnataka, SDPI currently has many elected representatives in urban local bodies including in Bengaluru.

Speaking to TNM, Law Minister Madhuswamy said, “The Honourable Home Minister (Basavaraj Bommai) and I have discussed this (issue of banning PFI and SDPI). We have called for an inquiry report from the police regarding rumours of these organisations (SDPI and PFI) carrying out activities which are unlawful.”

He added, “Only after obtaining concrete information about their wrongdoings, we will be able to say if they can be banned or not. Right now without evidence, it will be premature for me to comment if we can take action against them or not.”

He said the state government have been suspecting the involvement of SDPI, PFI and other “similar” organisations over unlawful activities since the attack on Tanveer Sait in Mysuru.

Former Minister and Narasimharaja MLA Sait was attacked on the night of November 17 by a man when he was attending a marriage function. Within a week police had arrested Abid Pasha, a PFI member accused of being the mastermind of the attack and also an accused in nine other murder cases across the state. According to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the attempted murder, Abid had allegedly trained Farhan Pasha – the man who stabbed Tanveer Sait.

Madhuswamy added the suspected involvement of six SDPI activists in connection with the attempted murder of a 31-year-old BJP cadre Varun Bhoopalam on December 22. According to police, the six men were allegedly hired as hitmen to stab either BJP MP from Bengaluru South Tejasvi Surya or Yuva Brigade founder Chakravarthy Sulibele originally who took part on the December 22 pro-CAA rally.

Earlier during the anti-CAA stir in Mangaluru in December where two persons were killed in police firing, Education Minister S Suresh Kumar had also targetted the PFI and SDPI and accused them of fanning violence in the port city. He had then hinted that a proposal to ban both organisations will be taken up in the cabinet. And the issue came up during the cabinet meeting on January 17.

Reacting to this, SDPI state committee member and former general secretary Riyaz Farangipet, said the party will counter the ban legally if the state government actually proceeds with the banning procedure.

“This step by the BJP is understandable as it is only the SDPI which can counter the BJP. They want to paint us as anti-Hindus, but we are not anti-Hindu. We are only anti-Hindutva and anti-RSS,” Farangipet told TNM.

When asked about the alleged role of SDPI/ PFI activists in recent cases, he claimed that the party has already denied any involvement and the police statements won’t stand the scrutiny of courts. 

He further added, “If a party has to be banned for its members’ criminal records then the BJP should be banned first. The criminal cases against BJP leaders only are much more than that against SDPI members. Our party will continue conforming with the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, a senior police source said that to make a case for banning under UAPA, there needs to be credible evidence that an organisation is acting at war against the State. "PFI doesn't come under the ambit of being a terorist organisation now. They can be banned for illegal activities like the way SIMI was banned under UAPA but at the moment there is no grounds for banning PFI. We have compiled a list of the cases where members of PFI were involved but we have not seen a case in which the organisation has been charged," the source stated.

With inputs from Prajwal Bhat

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